As the years have gone by and I have grown older, the nativity seems more like a movie in my mind — not real, just a picture. It seems so long ago and so far away — what would it be like to really be there? There have been so many pictures of the nativity scene that it might be difficult to place ourselves in that setting. Is it in a cave, or a stable, or attached to a house? How do we get in? Where do we stand? The shepherds seem to have taken up a lot of room — is there room for you and me? Can we see over their shoulders? What do we say when we see the Baby? Do we weep, feeling completely inadequate seeing the Baby in there? Is the manger like a little box with crossed legs, or is it just a trough along the wall with feed for the animals? It looks so small and dirty — how can it hold a baby?
What is it like to really see Him lying there — so cute. Is the Baby really Him — Jesus — God's Son? Is that our Saviour lying there? The angel's message to the shepherds describes it clearly:
Luke 2:10-12 – Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (NIV 2011)
What should I say to Him? Think. What would you say? In my earlier years, I conducted the Christmas pageant in church, and there would be several children and adults acting the parts. Everybody loved it, and we felt like bowing down and worshipping the baby that lay in the manger for all to see. What do you feel like doing?
Mary and Joseph are there standing beside the manger. Mary has her fingers intertwined with Jesus' hand, touching Him. Can we touch Him? Can we go to the manger now and find God in there? Martin Luther, in the fifteenth century, wrote this in the well-loved hymn, Away in a manger.
- Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.
As we sing, harmonizing beautifully, people are swaying and often in tears as we contemplate life without the holy Baby. If we have not seen Him lying there in the manger, we need to pray that the Lord will be near us today, opening our eyes and hearts so that our love for Him may shine in our families, churches, and communities this Christmas. Jesus is staying close beside us, preparing us to live forever with Him in heaven.
Prayer: Lord, as we look on the manger, may we also see You in our hearts. May we live for You and share Your life's story with others this Christmas. Lord, please fit us for heaven, that we may dwell with You there. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.